24 August, 2021
05 September
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AfroBasket 2021 - Team Profile: Egypt

CAIRO (Egypt) - Being a top-ranked team in Africa isn't enough for the Egyptians who head to the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket looking to claim their first continental title since 1983.

Over the past two decades, Egypt finished within a touching of an elusive AfroBasket title. Is 2021 their turning-point?

As FIBA Africa celebrates its 60th anniversary, one of its founding members Egypt hope to capitalize from a talented, ambitious and highly-competitive roster, and show their real potential when the tournament gets underway on August 24 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Here are some key elements about Senegal.

Team: Egypt
FIBA Ranking Men
: 60th (World); 6th (Africa)
Last participation in the AfroBasket: 2017 (2 wins, 2 defeat; 8th-place)
Best result at AfroBasket: African champions in 1975 and 1983; European champions under the name United Arab Republic in 1949.
How they qualified for the 2021 AfroBasket - Winners of Group E of the Qualifiers at 5-0. 
World: Egypt last featured at a major world competition back in 2014 when they finished last at the 24-nation World Cup  in Spain. Prior to that, Egypt appeared at FIBA Basketball World Cup three times (1994, 1990 and 1950). Egypt hold Africa's record for most appearances at the Olympics (7).
Youth teams impact: Unquestionably, Egypt have the most dynamic and successful basketball programmes on the continent of Africa, with their teams winning two FIBA 18 African Championships titles over the last decade. 

More than half of regular members of the senior have at some point represented the country at youth level. 

History/Qualification: In their last ten AfroBasket's participations, the five-time African champions reached the Semi-Finals six times, having finished second in 2013 and claimed three Third-Place finishes in 1999, 2001 and 2003.   

Key Players: The 2013 AfroBasket was a turning-point in Anas Mahmoud's career. Although the then 18-year-old had limited playing time, the seven-footer made the most of the opportunity. Afterwards, he embarked on a life-changing US College basketball career with Louisville.

Since he returned to his homeland in 2019, Mahmoud not only became a vital piece for his childhood club Zamalek, but he also found his space on the national team rotation.

Anas Mahmoud

Mahmoud, who won the 2021 Basketball Africa League (BAL)'s Dikembe Mutombo Defensive Player award, averaged a team-high 6.4 rebounds and contributed 7.8 points during the 2021 AfroBasket Qualifiers. 

Although Egypt heads coach Ahmed Marei usually tends to speak about the importance of the team rather than single out a player, there is no doubt that Mahmoud, Ehab Amin, Amr Abdelhalim, Moustafa ElMekawi have proven extremely important for the former African champions. 

Rising Star: NBA Academy product Mohab Yasser continues to build his name for himself. After making the 2020 FIBA U18 African Championship All-Star team, the 1.94m (6ft 3in) guard made quite a splash at the inaugural BAL, averaging nine points per game.

Mohab Yasser

His inclusion in the senior team resulted from his tenacity and hard work in recent times. Yasser has recently signed for East Tennessee State University.

New addition: Assem Marei, who last featured for Egypt during the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers, and Abdel Nader, the only Egyptian currently playing in the NBA, would add a massive value if they are available for the Kigali showdown, especially when recent reports suggest that Haytham Khalifa, an equally key member of the team, could be ruled out due to injury.  

Head coach: At domestic level, Ahmed Marei is the head coach of Alexandria-based side Al-Ittihad, but the 1984 Olympian isn't new to AfroBasket, having coached his country at the 2015 edition of the African Championship when they finished fifth.

Marei is the father Assem.

Outlook: Egypt head to this year's African Championship looking to improve from their latest results in the competition. The Egyptians have been impressive throughout the Qualifiers, having beaten their Group E opponents by an average of 21 points per game.

Can they maintain the momentum in Kigali? Facing reigning African champions Tunisia, Central African Republic and Guinea in Group B will test the Pharaohs's potential.

If they finish in the first two places of their group, this Egyptian team has the potential to reach the Semi-Finals. From there, anything is possible.